I guess also music album/stage show. Anything you think about obsessively, talk about excessively, and so on and so forth, until you are over it all of a sudden and it becomes this nice nostalgic piece of your past.
You probably already know mine. They are the ones that I write the really really REALLY long scene by scenes about. Partly because I am still so obsessed that I can enjoy writing a scene by scene. And partly because in the past I have been so obsessed that I have this massive terrifying backlog of knowledge enabling me to write a scene by scene.
So, of course:
Saw it the first time at age 19, never looked back, first DVD I ever bought, watched it day and night on my laptop in my dorm room, memorized the entire movie essentially, got a massive poster of it for my 21st birthday, and now am writing an analysis at the rate of 1,000 words per 1 minute of screen time.
Moviemavengal forced me to see it, and then I just watched it every day for two weeks. Which becomes more impressive when you know it was only playing at one theater, 45 minutes from my house. And of course it was a 2 and a half hour movie. And I was still trying to go to work every day. Anyway, the theater people started laughing at me a little bit, but whatever, I loved this movie! Total life ruining obsession. Until it left theaters and I had to obsess over illegal youtube videos from cell phones, and then it FINALLY came to streaming.
Jab Harry Met Sejal
So-so on the trailers, so-so on my first watch, but it kind of stuck in my head enough to make me want to see it a second time. And then I had a friend who wanted to see it, so I went a third time, and by the third watch I loved it. Even after just my first watch I was in love with the soundtrack. That’s weird for me, I usually only love soundtracks after I love movies. But the JHMS songs just got to me, I can still listen to them on a loop and not get tired.
Anne of Green Gables (books)
My mom loved them when she was a little girl, so she started by reading them aloud to me and then I ended up just devouring them whole. Still have to reread them every few years, and went to Prince Edward Island a couple years back which was MARVELOUS. But yeah, I distinctly remember being about 9 years old and reading my way from the back of the car into the house and onto the sofa without looking up because I was so taken with them.
Anything Goes (stage show)
Why? Don’t know! But my sister and I listened to this cast album sooooooo many times that we can still recite the lyrics for every single song. And those are Wodehouse/Cole Porter songs, those lyrics are HARD! We finally saw a live performance like 4 years after that, but mostly it was just the album over and over and OVER.
Singin’ in the Rain (non-Indian movie)
Well, this is just being a sane person. My sister and I saw it once at 4-6, fell in love, and then watched it over and over again for….the rest of our lives I guess? Do you need someone to stand up and say every line of dialogue from the entire film? I can! Do you want a fervent debate over whether the title song really is the best dance number of the film? I have THOUGHTS! Do you want to listen to a recording of Gene Kelly singing “Beautiful Girls”, which is the only song he doesn’t sing in the final film, but he did a recording to show the actual singer how he wanted it sung? I have such a recording! And if you are going “wait, what’s Singin’ in the Rain?”, I don’t even know what to say to that.
Oh yes, definitely not the title song. What’s your vote? Moses? Make ’em Laugh is my favorite but not sure it qualifies.
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“Good Morning”, or else the “Gotta Dance” ballet, for sure. Moses Supposes is probably the most technically difficult, but Good Morning has all that great use of space and props. Make Em Laugh is just too try hard for me. And the “Gotta Dance” ballet, in the category of “Gene Kelly decided to include a metaphorical ballet” is the best one. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the weird American in Paris one.
On Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 11:39 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I re-watched Moses to see if it was as good as I remembered, and man, he is just gorgeous. The way he moves is flawless.
what makes Moses really special is seeing Kelly with another dancer who is almost but not quite as good. With Sinatra or another one of those bozos they usually pair him with, he looks amazing, but then the other “dancer” is so bad, you can’t tell if it is Kelly being amazing or just being decent. But Moses has him go head to head with a fellow lifelong dancer first and actor second, and he is still better.
It’s like Madhuri versus most people, and then Madhuri versus Aish, where they are both good, but she is just a little better.
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 10:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Yes! That’s it exactly.
Indian movies – I know it’s bad, but I feel like I have watched Happy New Year like twice a month since I started watching Indian movies in January 2019. It is like Oceans 11 (the sister and I call it Oceans 5 for that very reason) but where there is a personal motive for everyone to be in it–SRK, Boman, and Sonu all want revenge (but Boman & Sonu could both use the money for some medical issues!!), Deepika wants to have the clout to start her own dancing school, and Abhishek wants surgery for his mom. I know it’s Not Great but I love it — it’s like popcorn, it isn’t FOOD but it’s fun.
I’ve been watching Logan Lucky on Prime recently — like, twice every weekend — for a similar reason. It isn’t Great Film but it’s sweet and funny.
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I think HNY is a very healthy movie to watch twice a month! It’s bright it’s happy the good guys win, great message to take with you.
My Dad made us watch Logan Lucky for his pick for movie night a few weeks back, and it is really good, you are right.
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 12:27 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I guess I’d start acknowledging an obsession the moment I start getting fan paraphernalia.
My very first and obviously lasting one is Hindi film as a whole. In many respects, I just am (or was) a typical “Bollywood” fan. I got compilations of old film songs. I’ve had posters of Rani on my wall. I own a Bollywood cookbook, a set of bangles and some Indian clothes.
Then came my Glee phase. I bought the soundtracks, made my own T-shirt for a flash mob and even flew to London for a concert with the cast, where I paid several POUNDS for one of those stupid “loser” foam fingers. And then it kind of fizzled out and I don’t even really remember the later seasons.
Another one with a cookbook: A Song of Ice and Fire. Books only – which also prevents me from staying stuck in that fandom too much. The next volume will probably take several more years to be completed, and in the meantime the fan theories just become more and more abstruse. But I also own a picture of me riding on one of the dragons and a very nice coffee table book with some background about the world of the books.
This is a nice collection of fandoms. Funny about Glee, I’ve had shows like that too, totally addicted and then somehow the magic went away. I don’t think it is me, I think it is the show, TV shows can lose whatever it was that made them special sometimes, I can watch the overall ratings go down just as my interest decreases.
I am going to assume you meant “book” not “cookbook”, but I also kind of want you to be obsessed with cookbook fandom for Songs of Fire and Ice.
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 4:54 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
😀 I meant that ASOIAF has at least one cookbook, too, which I own. The recipes are almost as time consuming as the Indian ones, though, without tasting quite as good.
Seriously? A cookbook? i don’t want to eat cookbooks from those people! I’m picturing a lot of hearty meat dishes and campfire cooking and stuff.
Hmmm. What cookbook would I want from a book? Maybe romance novels. The good ones always give you lots of food to fantasize about along with the other fantasies.
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 10:31 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Oh no, it’s actually pretty glorious. The books are full of food porn, and the recipes were first compiled on a blog by two fans experienced in like Elizabethan cooking. That’s roughly appropriate for many of the dishes mentioned at the different courts. But it encompasses everything from a simple campfire breakfast, to a seafood soup and different breads, to salads and meat dishes and pastries and spun sugar swans to roasted locusts. And unlike in the books, the latter aren’t even poisoned.
But, to eat roasted locusts, you would have to be in a place with locusts, and that seems like a very very bad place to be (my mother’s mother experienced that, she lived in one of the farming communities that was destroyed in America during the 1930s. It wasn’t fun).
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 2:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
The place in the books that has the locusts definitely doesn’t come across as nice to live in. In our world, luckily, you can just order them freeze dried on the internet. They’re a surprisingly tasty snack.
I can pretty much chronicle my life through my obsessions, so this is gonna be fun.
High School Musical (American film series)
I was 10 when the first movie came out, so perfect age bracket. This was also when “premiere parties” were a thing, so I slept over at a friend’s house and watched the premiere. The next day, we rewatched our favorite songs. I was convinced I was gonna marry Zac Efron for years, I had a premiere party at my house for the second movie, it ended up being my Bat Mitzvah theme which is extremely embarrassing looking back. I happened to have off school the day the 3rd one released in theaters, but I probably would have taken off to see it. I still know all the words to pretty much all the songs and some of the dances too.
The Jonas Brothers (music group)
I love pop music, and they had some great ones. They also put out some YouTube videos that were just plain silly and made me laugh. There was also a lot of drama surrounding who they were dating and who broke up with who, which I ate up. Including when they went solo, I’ve probably seen them in concert more than any other artist. Including Taylor Swift, who I also started getting obsessed with at this time, but my obsession with her hasn’t waned since 2008, so I’m not sure where to put it. But at least Nick is married to Priyanka now, so I can sort of connect it back to Indian film.
Glee (TV show)
I had been getting recommendations to watch this show from everyone I knew since it premiered, saying that it was a more adult version of High School Musical, and since I loved that, I’d love this. I put it off for so long until we watched the first couple of episodes in my chorus class at the end of the year, and I binged the whole thing as fast as I could. That obsession lasted me most of high school and into college. It ended up being garbage towards the end, but I stuck with it for the music and a few characters I really latched onto. And it did make history in terms of LGBT representation on TV, so you have to give it credit for that.
Hamilton (stage show)
I caved and listened to the album after seeing it all over the Internet, and was hooked immediately. I devoured all of the behind the scenes snippets, all of the hidden meanings in the lyrics, and saw it on Broadway after I graduated college. Watching it on Disney+ just brought it all back.
And I guess “Bollywood” as an industry has kind of turned into its own “phase” for me, but if we’re gonna pick specifics, I’d say Student of the Year and Humpty Sharma, because they’re movies I keep going back to to make me happy, and I will mention them literally whenever I get the chance.
Other brief obsessions that didn’t last as long or weren’t as influential as the ones mentioned above:
Love, Simon (movie), Once Upon a Time (TV show), An Ember in the Ashes (book series), Kalank (promo), War, Street Dancer (promo), JHMS (promo)
Ditto on High School Musical! Except I am 10 years older than you, so I didn’t get to do a viewing party or anything fun like that. I just got to see it when it hit DVD and I rented it while home from college on break. Loved it, of course, but was always pretty sure I WOULDN’T be marrying Zac Efron, since he was kind of young for me. I got to see the live stage musical with my sister a few years later and we had the best time EVER. What are your feelings on Hairspray? That was another brief obsession for me, and Zac was so great in it.
I have no opinion on The Jonas Brothers beyond thinking that Nick has grown up to have an odd affect on camera. What is with the always making a face at the camera?
Seems like everyone likes Glee but not the later seasons! For me, I think I got tired of it right after the first season. And I was never super in love with it, just a little in love with it.
I just can’t love Hamilton like that! Even though I saw it on stage. Possibly because I went through a 1776 phase for a while and that will always be my very first love for history based patriotic musicals. I don’t think Lin-Manual Miranda would mind that? I suspected that’s why he left John Adams out of Hamilton, and then I found an interview confirming it, he loves 1776 too. I still haven’t seen the Disney+ video though, so maybe I will fall in love for real after watching it again.
I have seen none of your temporary movies/TV shows choices! Or read the book! I feel so out of things. Also, are you subtely implying that either you have not seen JHMS or you saw it but didn’t love it as much as the promo? BLASPHEMY!!!!
I also saw the stage show and it might have been the only concert I’ve ever been to where I had floor seats and it was amazing. I remember hearing rumors when Zac Efron wasn’t doing the show that he was in jail, but I think it was cuz either he was shooting Hairspray at the time, or because he didn’t do any of his own singing in the first movie. I love Hairspray! Haven’t seen any live production so I’m only going off the movie, but it was a really good movie! I sang one of the songs for a project when I took musical theater in high school, and rewatched it over Netflix Party when quarantine was really bad. Still great. Not a fan of Zac’s dye job, but he is still so beautiful.
There might be a conspiracy theory that Nick Jonas is a robot. I’ve seen weird things where people point out times where he shows genuine emotion while being interviewed, and then immediately closes himself up. He’s very talented, but it’s so weird.
Pretty much everyone who watched the bulk of Glee thinks either season 1 or 2 is the best. For me, it’s season 2, because that’s when Darren Criss was introduced and I love him. Half the characters graduated high school at the end of season 3, so by season 4 they were either gone, or the show was split between the ones still in high school, and the ones going to NY for college. Not great consistency, plus the plotlines fell so far off the wall, completely jumped the shark, and they introduced so many new characters in high school to replace the ones who left that no one really cared.
I mean, if you love Anything Goes and Singin’ in the Rain, I can totally justify not being into Hamilton. It’s more pop-y than classic, old school Broadway, which I can’t get into. I loved Singin’ in the Rain, but I saw a high school production of Hello Dolly and was bored most of the time. I’m sure Lin wouldn’t mind your preference for 1776. And of course I loved the filmed production, but I also loved the soundtrack, and the staging just adds so much more to the soundtrack that I loved it even more. My mom even liked it, even though she said she missed a lot of the words, she was able to follow the general arc of the story and wanted to watch it again. It lends itself very well to multiple viewings.
The book series is dark and brutal YA, not for everyone, Love Simon is being gay in high school, and Once Upon a Time is fairy tale characters trapped in the modern world and don’t know they’re fairy tale characters. It’s on Netflix, I do recommend even if some of the plotlines also don’t make much sense after a while, and the relationships might upset people who are into classic fairy tales. I put JHMS because following that promo pretty much shoved me headfirst into the world of Bollywood, I was obsessed with the song releases because the soundtrack is amazing. I tried to see it in theaters but missed it and so was obsessed with tracking it down once it hit streaming. And then once I actually watched it, I was disappointed, mostly because I was expecting a fun romcom and all of the deeper stuff went over my head. It just felt disjointed to me. And I watched it again with some friends who sort of know who SRK is and like him, and one of them fell asleep. Haven’t revisited it since.
I am so glad to know I’m not the only one who finds Nick Jonas odd to watch! Probably just star kid insecurity in front of the camera and inability to play it “real”, but it’s still odd.
You are missing out if you only saw a high school production of Hello Dolly! Try to find the Pearl Bailey cast recording if you can, just to give it a fair shake. But yes, you may be right about Hamilton being too newfangled for me.
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 6:29 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
My wife and I moved on from Glee to Once Upon A Time, too. A nice weekly thing to watch, but not a major obsession. I guess for that they would have needed to take the chemistry between Emma and Regina to the next level.
See, I love Emma’s relationship with Hook, and their separate character arcs kept me with the show up until that reboot that I never even tried to watch. I thought Hook’s story was more solid than Regina and Rumpelstiltskin constantly going back and forth between good and evil.
If I could approach this a little more rationally, I guess I’d have to agree about the relative redemption of these characters. I just have trouble really feeling the chemistry between opposite sex pairings, while it will jump out at me whenever two nice ladies get into each other’s personal space.
We did give the reboot a chance, and it was surprisingly decent. In that, I could even root for Hook in a way, so I know my earlier dislike of him was mostly shipping goggles.
Aw, thank you for this post, Margaret! 🙂
– JHMS – I’ve seen this more than DDLJ, so that’s saying something
– ELKDTAL – My happy place!
Currently: Jesus Christ Superstar 2014 Swedish Arena Tour that I just can’t talk enough of and I am just summarising the whole show here. It is my ideal homoerotic fanfic (minus the whole religion thing) between two men come to life and damn, Peter Johansson has stolen my heart with his perfect Judas so different from the others (also his voice is just so appealing whenever he says Jesus’ name softy). It’s just the perfect love triangle (though between Judas-Jesus-Mary Magdalene) that I never knew I wanted!
The normal Judas of the show. So. Much. Affectionate. Gentle. Touching:
And the ‘Superstar’ number, dancing half-naked, touching his chest, swinging his hips and making an evil laugh. So delightfully over the top and he is being so generous with being there for all the gazes imaginable. It really is worth the watch (even if you don’t know Swedish) just to see how DIFFERENT he is compared to the above song:
I will try to get this whole thing out of my system soon enough! It’s just not happening right now. They made the songs and show even better in Swedish! How is that possible?! So sorry to basically spam this whole thing many times here…
In the past:
– Good Omens – homoeroticism, ’nuff said
– European musicals: Elisabeth das musical, Romeo et Juliette (+ variants in other countries) and Notre Dame de Paris (especially the Italian version)
– Empress Elisabeth ‘Sisi’ of Austria – this still kinda continues, but she was a very flawed and fascinating woman
Yea, I think India is in the “never going to leave” spot for me, so being obsessed with something that is non-Indian seems how they become much more of a ‘thing’ for me
Oh, Margaret, I think I commented on this post before, but it didn’t show. Might be in spam, but you can just delete that comment since I made this one.
I think I probably mentioned this to you before, but my sister did study abroad in Budapest which was the first time we heard about Sisi. She’s just not a thing in America! Queen Victoria, Anastasia, Catherine the Great, sure! But Sisi? Never heard of her. So my first impression was being told “this is really weird, the whole country is obsessed with some lady I’ve never heard of. Like, everything she ever touched is worshipped, it’s so weird!”
I have a friend who was totally obsessed with Good Omens as well! Because, as you say, homoeroticism. Can’t resist it.
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Yes, I remember. Your sister is so lucky to have been in Budapest, I seriously wish to go there someday and maybe do a joint trip to Vienna and Bad Ischl as well (I’ve only ever been to Salzburg).
It really is a whole phenomenon about her over here. I guess it just translate to America as much, too depressing probably of a story to sell (suicide, depression, end of an era – and not in a romantic way like the Romanovs, death and more death, revolution and bad parenting all around) in comparison to an ambitious woman in power (Victoria), a mystery for the ages, but not really (Anastasia) or a larger than life female ruler with fantastical stories about the court with more rumours than facts known about them (Catherine the Great and Marie Antoinette).
There is even a book called ‘Sissi’s World: The Empress Elisabeth in Memory and Myth’ that is all about the Sisi phenomenon over here in Europe and Asia if you are interested at all. There is also the biography by Brigitte Hamann ‘The Reluctant Empress’ that is very well written and informative (also the base for the musical).
And yes, homoeroticism truly is a gift for all and it should be used more often! It’s a win-win situation all the time! Why not use it more?
The only show I did in college was a rogue production of Jesus Christ Superstar :). I was Mary Magdalene and Jesus was played by a girl (but not *as* a girl), which added a different undertone to the Jesus-Judas chemistry. Judas really does have the best part and all the best songs.
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I am so happy you got to do a prodction of this 😀 Yea, Judas is the meatiest role in the whole production. So many direction one can go with it. Definetely one of my favourite characters in musican theatre.
In comparison Jesus is kinda “ok what can they do different, do they play as a man or someone divine or will he just be a boring guy?” (because there really are only so many things you can do with the character and is really limited because if it unless you go full out different and risk people not liking it). And Mary Magdalene really depends on the production more than anything.
I was typing a reply when one of my responses stuck out at me and made me think about obsession in general, at least mine. Because there was a time when I was OBSESSED with a dumb show. When I was living abroad my closest friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was Swedish,so I quit my jobs and moved to Sweden to be with him and it was the worst time of my life. I would travel by train and busses I couldn’t afford to see him in the care center every day but I was terribly lonely. Back at the flat I would watch TV, and they showed re-runs of Wings all the time, and I became obsessed with that stupid American sitcom. Those characters became my friends; I was super sad if I missed an episode… And today I think of SRK as my friend. Do obsessions in general fulfill things that are otherwise lacking in life? Wings gave me friendship and a community that I didn’t have in freezing cold Stockholm. SRK gives me the witty talented friend that doesn’t require upkeep on my side. Being a homemaker is rewarding, but boring and exhausting at the same time, and I’m not very good at it. My children are thriving, but the house is a mess. I talk to my true human “best friends” about four times a year; real strong friendships actually take time and effort and I haven’t done it. I’m glad SRK is there to tide me over. The story that started my SRK obsession was definitely JHMS.
I also went through a Wings phase! And Cheers, and Brooklyn 99, and Parks and Rec, and Golden Girls, and probably more I’m not remembering. I wasn’t in as clear and dramatic a life place as you, but similar needs. It’s winter in Chicago, the nights are long and dark but it’s too cold to want to leave the apartment. I’m lonely, I wish there was a place I could go to feel at home and happy and “where everybody knows your name” kind of thing. Watching the sitcoms made me happy, I would come in the door and flip them on and immediately feel safe and loved. Wings is special (so glad I have another wing-head to talk to!), because it managed to combine family and friends. There was the central brother pair, and later the sister pair, and eventually the husband-wife pair. But around the edges were your friends/co-workers that you saw every day, that you grew up with, who would be there making the same jokes and telling the same stories day in and day out. Workplace sitcoms are one thing, but this was a workplace/family sitcom. And being set in this extremely isolated place where you really would see the same folks every day, go to the same places, and so on and so forth, just added to that. Cheers and Frasier are the other two in the extended Wingsverse, and I feel like Cheers is totally workplace, customers and co-workers who primarily work together and are friends second. Frasier is totally a family sitcom, even the non-relatives like Daphne and Roz eventually became family. But Wings straddles the two which is why it is maybe my favorite.
Shahrukh was my friend for a while like that too, in a completely different but same situation to yours. Right after college all my friends scattered (as happens), so I had about 2 years rebuilding a community and Shahrukh was there for me then. Wait, now that I think about it, maybe not quite the same as you. You are missing having a close adult friend, I was missing having a whole community. So I loved Shahrukh, but I also paid more attention to the gossip news and stuff than probably ever since then. I liked feeling part of something, I may not have had friends in real life, but I could tell you all about the latest Rani-Aditya Chopra rumors, or Kajol’s infertility struggles, or any of it. This was a middle portion of my Shahrukh love, in college he was part of my community, I made friends over that shared bond. And I guess I did the same later. But there was a while there it was just me on my own using the films for a community.
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 11:38 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
It is kinda beautiful that entertainment can do that, giving us what we need during certain periods of our life, more than just a couple hours of distraction. And now that I really analyze it, Wings was a good show, good actors, simple set and concept, and good writing. And I was missing my friend family back in Berlin, so I got to trade it for a friend family on TV.
I am very big on defending sitcoms! There’s a sitcom snob community that is alive and well in media criticism, and I don’t like them. Cheers you can love, Seinfeld you can love, NewsRadio you must adore. But Wings and other nice humble pleasant shows must be disliked as playing to the masses. But what’s wrong with clever jokes, a good ensemble, and a nice simple premise? It’s soothing and nice and makes you happy. And now I want to go on another Wings binge. It didn’t challenge the audience or reinvent the wheel or anything, but it accomplished what it set out to do very very well.
Agree about how amazing it is that media can do that. I feel like sometimes media critics don’t get it, there’s a focus on the media that is “good” for people, you know, will teach them to respect other cultures or make them think or whatever. But what if people are in such a bad state they can’t think or learn anything and they just need emotional support? Isn’t that okay too?
On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 2:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
My distinct memory of Anne of Green Gables is being 9 or 10 and reading it in the back of the car too, trying to catch the words by the night lights whizzing by (I first read the scene where Gilbert puts Anne’s rose in his pocket in such a ride)… And of course crying over Matthew!
So delighted to hear this is a shared experience 🙂
Matthew is SO SAD! There’s a lot of sadness in the books, but somehow Matthew’s death is the worst. Maybe because she captured the feel of that first death in your life?